UK will recover – British High Commissioner on state of economy

first_imgIn light of mounting uncertainty over the future of the United Kingdom following last week’s majority vote on a referendum to exit the European Union, British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn is resolute that his home country will overcome the challenges it is currently facing.Analysts and researchers have predicted that the UK’s decision to leave the EU might be just about enough to push the country’s economy into a recession.However, speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, High Commissioner Quinn is optimistic that the UK will emerge from this in a better state than it was before the vote. He further pointed out that those countries hoping that the UK’s global influence and impact will diminish following Brexit, are deluded and will be in for some major disappointments.Quinn explained that the UK remains the third largest economy in the World and still a member of the Commonwealth and one of only five countries on the United Nations Security Council that is a permanent member. He noted too that the British country is the only one that spends two per cent of its Gross Domestic Products (GDP) on defence and a mere 0.7 per cent on development.“So if people think that the UK is going anywhere, then I’m quite happy to say they are off on the wrong track. We are here to stay and we certainly intend to stay,” he declared optimistically.According to the British High Commissioner, the UK had indeed experienced some economic turbulence over the past few days following the Brexit vote but the country’s economy has since stabilised and may even get to a better state.“I will note that the UK stock exchange is now back at about the same level as it was before the results was known. Yes, Sterling dropped and if you want to buy anything from the UK, things are now significantly cheaper than they were this time last week,” he stated.Quinn went on to say that this was expected, noting: “There will be a period of correction in which the markets get used to this but historically, the markets always end up above where they started from. I am sure the course of whatever period of time it might take, we will end up back where we started or above.”On Thursday 23 June, 51.9 per cent of UK voted on a referendum to leave the economic bloc. This was despite a 48.1 per cent vote from London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which were backing the stay within the EU.Since then, there have been many uncertainties about the future relation among the UK, Guyana and the EU. However, both UK and EU officials here have assured that this will not affect relations with Guyana or the Caribbean region.In fact, earlier this week, EU’s Ambassador to Guyana, Jernej Videti?, had recommitted the EU’s support to Guyana even after the exit of the UK, which was a major link between Guyana and EU.Meanwhile, the UK Diplomat in an interview with Guyana Times on Wednesday guaranteed that whatever consequences will follow, the relationship between Guyana and Great Britain will remain undefiled.“Looking to the longer term, I don’t see any change in the UK’s approach to Guyana. I don’t see any less a commitment and I don’t see any less support coming here,” he said.He explained that the United Kingdom is awaiting a new prime minister to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty since David Cameron has resigned and refused to lead this process.Until Article 50 is invoked, the process of leaving the EU will not commence.“The rights and responsibilities and obligations that the UK has as a member of the EU and that the EU has to the UK remain exactly the same. And even when that process is launched, it is going to take at least probably two years. We are talking about a long and complicated process,” he outlined.last_img read more

Remembering Counsellor Charles Walker Brumskine

first_imgCounsellor Charles Walker Brumskine and erstwhile political leader of the Liberty Party has finally succumbed to a protracted illness and has left the political scene of Liberia but, leaving behind a vibrant political institution with a capable female, Grand Bassa Senator, Nyonblee Karnga in charge.Prior to the outbreak of the civil war, Counsellor Charles Brumskine was fully engaged in legal practice in Monrovia, never ever having ventured into local politics. But that was to change following the outbreak of civil war in 1990.The civil war pitted Liberians against Liberians and led many to take sides in the conflict. From information available, Counsellor Brumskine cast his lot with the Charles Taylor led National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) although, he is reported to never have taken up residence in Gbarnga.However, it was during the transitional period in 1994 that he rose to the limelight as an ardent campaigner for a “Status of Forces Agreement” between the West African Peace Keeping Force, ECOMOG and the Liberian government which was a stance strongly supported by then rebel leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). Leading proponents of this stance, aside from Charles Brumskine included then Counsellor Varney Sherman and the late former Associate Supreme Court Justice, Clarence L. Simpson Jr.Supporters of the NPFL had coined the phrase: “Every Car Or Moving Object Gone” in derisive reference to the ECOWAS Peace Keeping Force, ECOMOG. They used this as a major strong point of their argument to drive home the point that the country was being looted by the Peace Keeping troops.When Charles Taylor finally became President following elections in 1997 under a proportional representation formula, one of his first acts was to get the Peace Keepers to leave, although it had a mandate from ECOWAS to restructure and retrain the national security forces. However barely two years later, in 1999, the nation had once again become engulfed with violent conflict.But prior to then and right after the 1997 elections that brought Taylor to power, Charles Brumskine was named as Senator representing Grand Bassa County and President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate. There, in the Senate, Brumskine began to flex his muscles. His first casualty was the tough talking Deputy Minister of Information Milton Teahjay, now Senator of Sinoe County, whose appearance before the senate he commanded to answer questions about some incident involving Teahjay and his boss, the late Joe Mulbah.Apart from tendering a verbal apology, Brumskine insisted on a written apology to be published in several leading newspapers. That development appeared to have raised Taylor’s antenna of suspicion about Brumskine’s possible presidential ambitions. After all, Teahjay, according to sources close to the presidency, was Taylor’s handpicked propagandist and Brumskine’s grilling of Teahjay was considered a personal affront to him (Charles Taylor).Taylor’s suspicions apparently heightened following the spat between House Speaker Nyudueh Monorkomna and Senate President Pro Tempore Charles Brumskine over the question of who the head of the Legislature was. Charles Brumskine had argued that each House was separate and had their own rules of procedure and, more besides, a senator represented an entire country as opposed to a representative who had a much smaller constituency. By then, conspiracy theories were all in the air and Taylor, faced with a growing insurgency in northwest Lofa County decided he had had enough.Before long, security vehicles including that of Taylor’s dreaded SSS Director Benjamin Yeaten began shadowing Brumskine’s Hotel Africa residence on a nightly basis. Fearing for his life and safety, Brumskine decided to leave the country but he was turned back at the Roberts International Airport and his passport seized by security authorities. After several days his passport was returned, and he was allowed to leave the country.But the insurgency intensified as LURD rebels began advancing on the nation’s capital. With elections due in 2003, a besieged Taylor, desperate for relief declared that elections will go ahead even if there was fighting on Broad Street.But the question was with nearly every opposition leader out of the country in exile, was whether such elections would be credible.Answer to that question was not long in coming with a surprise announcement by Charles Brumskine that he was returning to the country to challenge Taylor at the Polls.But Brumskine confounded and silenced his critics who had doubted that he would have returned to what was a virtual war zone. But Brumskine did return to a triumphant welcome by a teeming crowd. And surprisingly, not even a strand of his hair was touched by Taylor.By all accounts, at the time, it was to be a two-horse race with Brumskine clearly tipped to win.  But fate and the onslaught of the rebel advance on two fronts was to intervene and put paid to the elections for Taylor was forced to abdicate.Charles Brumskine was among those who gathered in Accra at the peace meeting brokered by ECOWAS. A peace formula calling for disarmament of the factions, the setting up of an interim government followed by elections two years later, was agreed. Charles Brumskine contested the elections in 2005 but lost, placing third. He contested again in 2011 but lost also.He was riled by the public on two separate occasions for not encouraging his supporters to support Ellen Sirleaf in the 2005 and 2011 run-off elections and Joseph Boakai in the 2017 runoff elections.But more than anything, it was the 2017 elections and its aftermath of legal challenges in the face of visible and gripping tension during which he made his mark, stepping forward fearlessly and brilliantly challenging at the Supreme Court, the integrity of those results while urging his supporters to remain calm, which undoubtedly earned him a place in history.At the time, the nation was on edge, poised on the brink of renewed civil conflict but he pulled back from the brink.Charles Brumskine’s sojourn on this terrestrial sphere has now ended but the tasks of building and strengthening Liberia’s democracy has not ended. This is the challenge to the Liberty Party.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more